What is a Disposable Scalpel?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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A disposable scalpel is a small, bladed instrument intended to be used only a limited number of times before it is thrown away and replaced. Scalpels are used in many different areas, from arts and crafts to mechanical engineering to surgery. They are generally relatively inexpensive and their blades, particularly in the case of surgical scalpels, are incredibly sharp. A disposable scalpel, though sometimes entirely disposable, is commonly made up of two parts: a replaceable blade and a reusable handle. Disposable blades free scalpel users from the difficult and often dangerous task of sharpening small, sharp scalpel blades.

In medical practices, disposable scalpels or scalpels with disposable blades are extremely important because of the necessity for sterile surgical instruments. A disposable scalpel is generally only used to make a single cut because reusing the scalpel could result in infection or contamination. Using new, sterile scalpels whenever possible keeps any risk of contamination or infection to an absolute minimum. Additionally, the practice of using a fresh disposable scalpel for each incision ensures that the blade has not sustained any damage that could result in a sloppy or imprecise cut. Like all medical wastes, used scalpels are handled with the utmost care after use—an accidental cut with a bloody scalpel could result in many different and unpleasant problems.


Sometimes an individual will choose to use a disposable scalpel with a replaceable blade because he wishes to use different types of blades. Many individuals, particularly those involved in arts and crafts, like the option of switching their scalpels' blades based on the projects at hand. Some scalpel blades are pointy and sharply angled allowing for sharp incisions and short, precise cuts while others have curved blades that are better for long, smooth cuts. Some scalpel blades are double sided, allowing for precise and versatile cutting options in tough areas that may otherwise be hard to cut properly.

Many people choose to use completely disposable scalpels because they tend to be cheaper than more durable scalpels with metal handles and nice, replaceable blades. A completely disposable scalpel will often be made with an inexpensive plastic blade; the blade itself is often attached in such a way that it cannot be removed or replaced. This kind of disposable scalpel is good for those who do need to use scalpels on a day to day basis. Those who do use scalpels that often, however, would probably benefit most from a higher-quality scalpel with a metal handle and a replaceable blade.


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